REVIEW: Chew #41
Written and Lettered by John Layman
Illustrated by Rob Guillory
Published by Image Comics
It’s hard to believe that next month will mark the five-year anniversary of the release of “Chew” from Image Comics. The popular graphic novel from creators John Layman and Rob Guillory is about a Cibopathic FDA agent (Tony Chu), who has the uncanny ability to receive psychic visions when he consumes food (or anything for that matter). Chew is set in a time where chicken has been outlawed and deemed illegal after an avian flu outbreak that claimed the lives of over twenty million people.
Chew #41 kicks off the new five-part “Chicken Tenders” story arc which finds our man Chu along with his partner John Colby and food critic/love interest Amelia Mintz at a FDA symposium in Las Vegas. Along with our usual suspects this issue includes Director Applebee and Chief Director Lamode who all together continue to provide us with one of the most unconventional and hilarious ensembles in comic books today. Layman’s scripts remain as strong as ever as he always seems to deliver clever writing that has made this book so successful, arc after arc. Some spoilers here as we see our hero being called in to investigate an incident that can be best described as “death by chocolate”. This bizarre but tragic occurrence leads Chu and Colby to their employer’s convention where we learn a weapon has gone missing. As quickly as this case starts it over just as fast as we see Chu and team proceed to break a world record as it take essentially little time to figure out this open and shut case. It does not end there however, as readers will discover a surprise ending to part one of this new arc.
I cannot reiterate enough the stellar work that John Layman is doing here. Not only was his whole concept for Chew original, but his approach remains innovative even after all these years. Along with the amazing and anomalous illustrations from Rob Guillory, it is no surprise to anyone that this book is as accomplished as it is. As if the story were not compelling enough to draw me back month after month, the easter eggs and hidden hilarious messages the creative team inserts into the panels adds a sort of “Mad Magazine” feel to a well written quality book that gives “Chew” fans a unique and rewarding reading experience. The work has not gone unnoticed as the novel has received well deserved critical praise and earned both creators Eisner and Harvey awards along the way. This hard work has translated to commercial success as later this month Image Comics is releasing a Chew crossover with Revival, another popular Image title. An animated series is also in development for television, with Steven Yeun (The Walking Dead) and Felicia Day (The Guild) set to co-star.
Overall Chew #41 delivers the same brand of acerbic humor and exhilarating action that we’ve seen from it in the previous forty issues. It remains one of the most eclectic and well written satires in a comic book or any medium for that matter currently out there today.
Overall Rating: 8 out of 10